Patek Philippe - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XVII Hong Kong Friday, November 24, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 2001
    Reference No: 3974P-001
    Movement No: 1’906’110
    Case No: 4’129’600
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. R 27 Q aut, 39 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin Stamped Patek Philippe SA Geneve dated 21st September 2001, leather folio, product literature and additional solid caseback. Further delivered with Patek Phillippe Extract from the Archives confirming its date of manufacture in 2001 with opaline-white, Breguet numerals dial and its subsequent date of sale on 22nd September 2001.
    Literature: Reference 3974 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 325.

  • Catalogue Essay

    11 hour strikes, three quarter strikes and 14 minute strikes, a constant tempo as each chime rings through the ears of generations. From father and his father before him, this has been the personal task for the Stern family for decades to deliver the purest of chimes toward its long history of watchmaking. A legacy that took place over 180 years ago with the first repeating pocket watches by Patek Philippe began as a necessity, a way to tell time in the dark. Today, minute repeating timepieces are regarded as a horological pinnacle amongst watchmaking and equally important to the circle of astute collectors. An incredible challenge to showcase the mastery of the watchmaker not only by how refined the finishing is, or how timeless the design can be. All is defined by solely the sound that rings to your ear, and none does it better than Patek Philippe.

    Marking a significant 150th anniversary of the maison, Patek Philippe celebrated the milestone in 1989 with the release of a limited collection. Among them all, the crown jewel of the collection apart from the cal. 89 pocket watch was the collector’s favourite and at the time the most complicated wristwatch by the firm, the coveted ref. 3974 self-winding minute repeating perpetual calendar wristwatch.

    Produced from 1989 to 2002, it is believed that approximately 120 examples of the reference were produced across all metals including yellow gold, pink gold, white gold and platinum. While most examples were cased in yellow gold, not more than 20 examples in pink gold and a dozen in white gold and platinum were produced.

    Extremely impressive, elegant with utterly attractive looks, the reference featured a classic style three-piece 36mm diameter case with a sapphire caseback. While it is generally known that early examples of the case were made by the living legend Jean-Pierre Hagmann with his hallmarks stamped beneath the bottom right lug, later examples featured cases made by Atelier Reunis. Sold by PHILLIPS In 2020, a late production ref. 3974P surfaced in the market bearing a late case number 4'129'601; marking not only the very end of the production of the reference, but also the last example to be cased by Jean-Pierre Hagmann. In fact, according to our understanding, that was the last ref. 3974 example made in any case material. It was delivered to a VIP customer in January 2004, 3 years after the production of the last movements for the reference (2001, the year of production of this movement).

    The Possibly Unique Ref. 3974P

    According to our research, only 8 examples of the ref. 3974 in platinum have ever been offered at auction. Only a mere of 2 examples of a Patek Philippe ref. 3974P has the luxury of being fitted with a Breguet numerals dial.

    Fresh-to-the-market, PHILLIPS is honoured to present an addition to the family. Totalling the number to be the 9th example in platinum offered to the public, and more importantly, a possibly unique example.

    From the 8 examples previously known to the market, one can see the rarity of a ref. 3974 cased in platinum. Platinum is a known to dampen the sound of chimes in a repeating watch, however thanks to Patek Philippe’s technical expertise and savoir faire, the ref. 3974P balances volume, rhythm, harmony, and pitch in perfection. Where any platinum variant of the model can be considered an absolute grail, the bar can be set even higher with the dial that sits atop. Known to be fitted with an opaline white dial with baton indexes as their regular platinum production, the minute collectors hear “Breguet numerals”, they know they are in for a treat.

    Evident with staggering results such as the mentioned example offered by Phillips in Geneva Auction XII in 2020. The ref. 3974P fitted with a special request black Breguet dial bearing case no. 4’129’601 and movement no. 1’906’113 was sold for 1,421,500 CHF.

    Ref. 3974P with Opaline White dial and baton indexes
    Movement No. 1’906’081 Case No. 2’954’678 Circa 1992
    Movement No. 1’906’082 Case No. 2’854’679 Circa 1992
    Movement No. 1’906’092 Case No. 2’946’954 Circa 1994
    Movement No. 1’906’094 Case No. 2’946’953 Circa 1994
    Movement No. 1’906’095 Case No. 2’946’955 Circa 1994
    Movement No. 1’906’113 Case No. 4’129’601 Circa 2001 (Special request of an additional black dial with Breguet numerals)

    Black Breguet numerals dial
    Movement No. 1’906’099 Case No. 2’972’570 Circa 1999
    Movement No. 1’906’106 Case No. 2’972’567 Circa 2009 (Special request of an additional white opaline dial with Breguet numerals)

    Opaline White Breguet numerals dial
    Movement No. 1’906’110 Case No. 4’129’600 Circa 2001 (The Present Example)

    Extremely important and highly attractive, the present ref. 3974P is the only example known born with an opaline white Breguet numerals dial. Not only that, but this very example bears a consecutive serial of 4’129’600, making this the 2nd last 3974P to be made and delivered. As confirmed from the Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives with its dial configuration, it belongs to the very end of the production of the model; this example was manufactured in 2001 and was sold in September of that year.

    An auditory experience that is physical and emotional. As one gently pushes home and releases the repeater slide, the watch is brought to life. Strong, clear acoustic as each gong strikes, neither too weak or too strong, this 3974P promises only constant and harmonic resonance. Thanks to the impeccable Jean-Pierre Hagmann, who created this beautiful case for the watch, his JHP stamp remains crisply stamped behind the strong downturned lugs. The JHP stamp is also present on the inside of the solid case back, highlighting the pride this legendary craftsman took in his job. Furthermore, the preservation of this timepiece is a charmer. Stunningly preserved with strong proportions and defined stepped lugs, one can sense the care and love from its previous collector.

    A possibly unique ref. 3974P haloed by Jean Pierre Hagmann and the personal audition by Mr. Stern, the original Certificate of Origin and additional solid case back keep this incredible timpiece company. It is needless to say this is one of the illustrious timepieces that will take a very important place in Patek Philippe’s history.

  • Artist Biography

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Property from an Important Collector


Ref. 3974P-001
A superbly attractive, highly important and possibly unique platinum minute repeating perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phases, leap year indication, 24-hour indication, applied Breguet numerals, additional solid caseback and Certificate of Origin

36mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

HK$8,800,000 - 17,600,000 

Sold for HK$14,365,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XVII

Hong Kong Auction 24-25 November 2023